Is Eating Locally a Moral Obligation?

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26 (2):421-437 (2013)
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Advocates of eating locally offer a wide range of arguments in favor of the practice, but their ethical import is not always clear. Some locavore statements and arguments seem to imply a strong form of moral obligation; that eating locally is not merely instrumental to some other good, but has intrinsic value in its own right. This article examines standard arguments on behalf of eating locally, including arguments linked to the value of small farms and agrarianism, the environment, taste and health, trust, and relational markets. Most arguments put forward on behalf of eating locally value it instrumentally, the main exception being arguments based on relational markets. Although these arguments provide important motives for eating locally, the strength of obligation varies widely, and even the strongest arguments possess significant qualifications. While eating locally can play a role in reducing environmental impacts, this is not necessarily so, and once removed from instrumental considerations, eating locally is more likely at best an imperfect duty



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Gregory Peterson
South Dakota State University

Citations of this work

Eating Local: A philosophical toolbox.Andrea Borghini, Nicola Piras & Beatrice Serini - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (3):527-551.

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